Deaths and funerals

Exhuming human remains

The process of moving a person's remains from a grave is called an 'exhumation'. 

You may need to exhume human remains to:

  • move a body from the original grave site to a new grave
  • deepen an existing grave for a further burial
  • send them for cremation

You need a licence to remove human remains from the ground. You’ll need to get the signature of any close relatives, the owner of the grave plot and the burial authority.

An Environmental Health officer must be present at the exhumation. The exhumation can't go ahead if the conditions of the licence are not met, or there are public health or decency concerns.

Apply to exhume human remains